Review: BECKY (2020)
Directors Jonathan Milott and Cary Murnion made their debut with the darkly funny killer kids film Cooties in 2014. In 2017, they were back with Bushwick, wherein a risen Confederacy attacks NYC. Now in 2020, they’ve combined the two themes. In Becky, the titular teenager has to battle off escaped Neo-Nazi convicts.
Thirteen-year-old Becky (Lulu Wilson, Annabelle: Creation, The Haunting of Hill House) is estranged from her father Jeff (Joel McHale, Mortal Kombat Legends: Battle of the Realms , Assassination Nation). A weekend together at the beach house is supposed to be a start at reconciliation. However, things go south even before they arrive. And when she finds out he’s invited his new girlfriend Kayla (Amanda Brugel, The Handmaid’s Tale) and her young son Ty (Isaiah Rockcliffe, Random Acts of Violence).
Things however are about to get even worse. Dominick (Kevin James, King of Queens, Paul Blart: Mall Cop), Apex (Robert Maillet, Polar, Dark Rising: Warrior of Worlds) and the rest of the crew have escaped from custody and already left a trail of bodies behind them. They’ve hidden something in the beach house. They aren’t happy to find it gone, or people there.
On the surface, Becky looks like a much nastier take on Home Alone. But the film goes a bit deeper than that. It’s obvious from the start that Becky has issues. But it takes a while before we realize she far more disturbed than your typical angsty adolescent. By the film’s end, I was actually questioning whether a couple of characters should be labelled heroes or villains.
Becky basically becomes a thirteen-year-old psychopath versus a gang of hardened criminal psychos. There’s certainly plenty of action and some suspense, but it’s lacking something. For such vicious killers, the gang seems at times to be fairly easy pickings. That was OK in Home Alone, not so much in a film like this.
The way the violence is presented is one of the film’s more interesting angles. I won’t spoil it, but it does some interesting things with what’s shown and what’s inferred. That’s not to say Becky doesn’t deserve its R rating. There’s a kill that’s a nice nod to the original I Spit On Your Grave. And another involving an ATV and a pull behind lawnmower that pushes the limits of the rating.
Several articles I read made a big deal of the fact that Kevin James plays a white supremacist/Neo Nazi. Given that, and with Jeff and Kayla being a mixed race couple, I was expecting some Fight For Your Life type nastiness to ensue. Cooties proved Milott and Murnion aren’t afraid to break taboos when it comes to who they kill or how. Instead, it just amounts to a speech about God’s “divine plan” for the races.
An enjoyable thriller that will leave you with a couple of things to think about, Becky has a few issues. The script from Nick Morris and the team behind The Devil to Pay, Ruckus and Lane Skye left some potentially interesting ideas unexplored. But it still delivers where it matters.
Quiver Distribution will release Becky June 5th to On Demand and streaming platforms.